The European 2014 World Cup Qualifiers get back on track on Fri. Oct. 12 with one of the best matchups being Portugal at Russia. The Group F game will take place in Luzhniki Stadium. This pits the two group leaders against each other as both teams have six points from two games so far. However, Russia sits at the top of the table due to their superior goal difference. Both sides usually like to play attacking football so this could be a treat for the fans.
The current odds at Bet365.com is 2.75 (7/4) for the Russians, 3.20 (11/5) for a draw and 2.60 (8/5) for a Portuguese win. See our predictions further down. The odds for over 2.5 goals is interesting at 2.35 (27/20).
The Russians beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in their first match and then followed it up with a highly-impressive 4-0 win away in Israel. This is good news for Russian supporters since the team started strongly at Euro 2012 by beating the Czech Republic, but they then fell apart and didn’t advance to the knockout stage after drawing with Poland and losing to Greece. Russia is trying to make the World Cup for the 10th time. Their best showing was in 1966 when the team finished in fourth place in England.
Former England manager Fabio Capello took over the club after Euro 2012 when Dick Advocaat said goodbye to the team. Capello has been with the team since July and he’s trying to get used to life in Russia. One of his biggest problems will be the language since he doesn’t speak Russian and can barely speak English either. The squad has some good players in Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Aleksandr Kokorin, and Viktor Fayzulin. However, it could even be stronger if Capello had called up former captain Andrei Arshavin as well as Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Portugal has always been one of the best national teams in the world since the mid 1960s, but when it comes to big tournaments they somehow choke during the biggest matches. They have never won a major tournament even though they hosted the European Championships in the past. On that occasion they lost to Greece in the final after being beaten by them in the group stages as well. The Portuguese had a decent Euro 2012, but lost in a penalty shootout to eventual winners Spain.
Portugal beat Azerbaijan 3-0 in their first World Cup qualifier and then handed Luxembourg a close 2-1 loss. However, they did hit the woodwork a total of five times in that game. The star of Portugal is of course Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, and they have a good supporting cast with players such as Bruno Alves, Silvestre Varela, and Helder Postiga. Ronaldo scored a pair on the weekend against Barcelona in a 2-2 draw in the El Clasico. He suffered a slight shoulder injury, but is expected to play. He also has hat tricks against Ajax and La Coruna so far this season.
Russia will have home advantage and that includes the cold weather. Both teams can score goals, but they both allow quite a few too if they’re pressed. Each team should create some quality chances and this match could very well end in a draw.
The latest odds on the match from sportsbook Bet365 have a Russian win at 9/5 with a Portugal victory at 13/8 and a draw at 21/10.